Al Nash

Voices For, Against Coal Royalty Reform Heard In Billings

Aug 12, 2015
Commenters line up to speak during a Billings meeting on coal royalty reforms, Tuesday, August 11.
Jackie Yamanaka - Yellowstone Public Radio

An overflow crowd packed the Montana/Dakota’s BLM state office in Billings to speak on the federal coal program Tuesday. The agency is seeking comment on possible changes to make sure it’s obtaining the full economic value for the mining of federal coal. Comments ranged from whether the government is getting enough revenue, to climate change, to the "war on coal."

Coal Royalties Listening Tour Stops In Billings Tuesday

Aug 10, 2015
Governor Steve Bullock says the Korean market for Montana coal isn’t going away, even though the state’s largest coal producer is cutting back on its exports to Asia.
U.S. Geological Survey

The federal government’s controversial coal program is the subject of a public listening session in Billings Tuesday. It’s the first of four planned throughout the heart of American coal country. The Department of Interior is encouraging the public to enter the fray.

Jackie Yamanaka

Another nearly 4-dozen Yellowstone National Park bison are scheduled to be loaded up today at the Stephens Creek Capture facility and delivered for slaughter in Big Timber and Columbus.

It’s part of the population control measures spelled out under the Interagency Bison Management Plan.

Yellowstone officials held a tour of the Stephens Creek facility yesterday.

Rick Wallen is the lead wildlife biologist for Yellowstone’s bison program.

Relatively mild winter weather is bringing out the bears in Yellowstone National Park.

Park spokesman Al Nash says the first report of grizzly bear activity was confirmed late Monday afternoon.

The bears usually emerge from hibernation in early March.

They're hungry when leaving their dens and looking for an easy meal; namely, the carcasses of winter-killed animals.

Jim Peaco (CC-BY-2.0)

Yellowstone National Park has started capturing bison near the park's north entrance and bison advocates have sued to stop it.

Disease management and carrying capacity are at the center of the operation.

Park spokesman Al Nash says a total of 800 to 900 bison that migrate out of the park could be removed.

"We're doing so to be able to approach the target bison population and to see if we can reduce the potential for a mass-migration of bison into Montana where there is still some limited tolerance."

Jim Peaco (CC-BY-2.0)

Yellowstone National Park officials hope a smartphone and tablet app sparks curiosity about science and the nation's park system.

The app called "NPS Yellowstone Geyers".

Park spokesman Al Nash says it helps users find out when Old Faithful and five other predictable geysers could erupt.

"We're looking to see how we can harness technology to help us better serve visitors."

Tourist Fined For Yellowstone Drone Crash

Sep 25, 2014
National Park Service

A federal court has ordered a Dutch man to pay more than $3,000 dollars for crashing a drone in the biggest hot spring in Yellowstone National Park.

Theodorus Van Vliet crashed a drone into the Grand Prismatic Spring in early August. Workers have been unable to recover the unmanned aircraft so far.

Park authorities banned drones in late June.

Van Vliet was one of three visitors to crash one in the park this summer.

This is the second federal conviction for piloting drones in Yellowstone in a just over a week. One other illegal drone case is still pending.

Yellowstone Drone Problems Don't Plague Glacier

Sep 4, 2014
National Park Service

A German man has been charged with four misdemeanors related to crashing a drone into Yellowstone Lake this summer. In addition to violating the park’s ban on unmanned aircraft, Andreas Meissner is charged with filming without a permit, leaving property unattended, and giving a false report to authorities in the July 17 incident.

Yellowstone National Park Spokesman Al Nash says Meisner is not the only person to be cited for flying a drone in the park.

“We’ve actually charged three different people regarding use of unmanned aircraft in Yellowstone this summer,” Nash says.


National Park Service officials are announcing a partnership with the state of Montana to consider changes to managing bison in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Hundreds of bison wander into the state from the park’s northern boundary during many winters.

Livestock owners worry about the animals damaging property and spreading disease.

The Park Service and the state have been operating under their current Bison Management Plan since 2001.

The agencies think it may be time for an update.


Yellowstone National Park administrators say shooting wild bison with vaccine-laced "biobullets" to prevent the spread of an animal disease would be too ineffective to justify the expense.

Today's announcement means a program that's led to the periodic capture and slaughter of thousands of migrating bison will continue.
       About half of Yellowstone's 4,600 bison test positive for Brucellosis, which causes pregnant animals to prematurely abort their young.